The Yanmar single cylinder air-cooled diesel engine originated in the 80’s when the only other established competitor was the LT and LV Lister Petter engines. Lister Petter had their L range and T range which was fitted to everything from site dumpers to concrete mixers and was a noisy, dirty, old fashioned engine with the design and technology behind it based on 30-year old principles.
The Yanmar L series was launched with the 3 main models used in the UK being:
L48 0.199 litres 4.2hp
L70 0.296 litres 6.7hp
L100 0.406 litres 10hp
Traditionally all air-cooled diesel engines were started by a starting handle, an inherently dangerous way of starting with a kick back likely to break a wrist and a jammed handle revolving at 700rpm!! The Yanmar introduced the recoil start pull chord start as well as an electric start option and was initially scoffed at and mocked by users and competitors alike. However, the ease of at which it started and the lack of starting handle danger soon won manufacturers over and the Yanmar L series soon gained market share at the expense of the Lister Petter as it was the world’s smallest and lightest diesel engine.
With more than 1.5 million units produced since its launch, the Yanmar L series can be in most small items of construction equipment including Winget / Belle mixers, Cormidi / Messersi / Hinowa tracked pedestrian dumpers, Brendon powerwashers, Stephill generators, SMC lighting towers to name but a few.
In 2007 the Yanmar L series was replaced by the Yanmar LN series which itself was replaced in 2019 by the Yanmar LV series to meet EU Stage 5 emissions regulations, all available with either keyway, taper or threaded output shaft with recoil start fitted as standard with an option of electric start with built in charging system.
The Yanmar LV series is still the quietest, compact, lightest, most reliable diesel engine available without the reliability associated with its Italian competitor or the cost of the parts and replacement cost of its German one.